Your personal recommended calorie intake for losing weigh

How do you work out your recommended calorie intake? In real life, the short answer is, you don't!

I know, you were hoping for the magic bullet, that I'd give you a calorie intake chart that you could look at, determine your calorie intake per day, and you'd have lifelong success.

It doesn't work that way. I've tried, with very limited, actually nil, success.

Your recommended calorie intake to lose weight

What are you eating now? To lose weight you need to eat less, how much less will depend on how strong you can be. Strong, you say! I need to be strong!

Yes, your body will have got used to the amount of food you've been eating. and the types of food that make up your regular eating patterns. If your usual diet has included a lot of fats, or sugars, then you have a quick way of losing weight.

But you need to have a little strength. Because you'll find that you're hungry to start with. When you decrease portions your body will growl at you sometimes, you'll start to notice the hunger.

You need to focus on the long term. Your long term goal will require some strength in the short term.

So while you're hungry now, you need to be willing to feel that for a little while, for your long term goal. There's nothing instant about healthy long term weight loss. Each choice and step you take gets you closer, all those steps together are what gets you to your goal.

So, you're recommended calorie intake to lose weight, is less than what you're eating now, that's the starting point.

  • Reduce your portions by small amounts gradually. That will minimise the hunger affect and you won't feel starving, just a little hunger
  • Write your action intention down, with a reminder of why you're doing this. That way you are reminded not only of what choices you're making, but also the long term results that you want
  • Whatever your calorie intake per day is now, that's the level you need to keep eating to maintain you're current weight, or to keep putting weight on, so by lowering this at a pace that you can handle, that is not too restrictive that you need so much mental strength that you eventually give up, but enough that you now you reducing you're intake, your setting yourself up with manageable actions

A calorie intake chart that makes sense

One of the big issues with using charts and keeping track of numbers is that it's time consuming.

And time is one thing we don't have a lot of. It's one of the reasons we resort to fast food because it's quick, and the majority of us, on a day-to-day basis, feel like we don't have enough time.

So even if you're totally focused on that goal that you've set yourself, if you're willing to do everything you can, how long do you think you can maintain referring to charts and keeping track of the numbers?

Some people can, but for many of us, it quickly gets left by the wayside because we realise there are other things that we need to, or want to, do an we just don't have the time for number crunching.

A calorie chart that makes sense is one where you chart the changes you're making in terms of quantity and type of food.

How do you do that? There's a really simple way. Use your digital camera, or the one on your cell phone, and photograph your meal, with the plate loaded the way you normally eat, or your sandwich with it's usual fillings, or the fast food meal you usually have for lunch.

Keep those photos with you, date them if you can. Next time, before you load your plate, or before you make your sandwich, or before you order your fast food, look at that photo, then load the plate with a little less, use smaller bread, or less butter on your sandwich, downsize one part of your fast food meal.

This way you've charted where you started, and what changes you're making. Keep doing this. Photograph that new meal. You then have a visual representation, or chart, of exacting what you're doing.

You can see how you're reducing your calorie intake per day. You'll see the changes you're making, the actions you're taking, and that gives you strength to keep going.

Also you will find that you'll stop taking photos for a while, that's okay, keep those photos, then if you want to check how you're going in a few weeks or months, take a photo and compare it the older ones, you'll quickly know if your calorie intake per day has increased or decreased, and what changes you've made to the type of food you're eating.

Of course, don't go overboard, don't reduce your calorie intake so far that you're not eating.

You need food to lose weight, you need food to be healthy, you need food to have energy. There's not much point losing all that weight and then laying on the couch all day because you're too tired, or sick.

  • Your recommended calorie intake needs to still be healthy, but you don't have to think about it in terms of numbers. Think about your recommended calorie intake as coming from a variety of foods, that meet your nutritional needs, without going over you're energy needs.

Your recommended calorie intake then is lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, some breads and grains, a little fat, some dairy and a few extras, and overall only as much as you need in energy.

Day-to-day your recommended calorie intake will alter.

The other difficulty I had with trying to work out a recommended calorie intake is that our days are often different, even weeks, like when we're on holidays, or trying to get a project finished.

So if you're trying to count numbers, then you not only have to refer to the charts, but you have to then try and work out whether you should eat more, because you've been really active, or eat less, because you've spent the day on the couch with a book.

I gave up. The time and concentration it took to do this was too great, and there was no way I could do this consistently.

On lazy days, I'd remind myself each time I was hungry to eat a little less, because I wasn't doing much, on active days, I'd eat more, that was the easy part, activity makes me hungrier anyway.

Your recommended calorie intake should be less than you're eating now if you're looking to lose weight, and focused on choosing foods that will give you the results that you're looking for. It isn't really about a number at all.

And your personal recommended calorie intake to lose weight is about starting from where you are, what you eat, and what you want, and taking action that fits into your life, and with what's on your plate...literally and metaphorically.

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